Download Ancien Regime and the French Revolution by Alexis de Tocqueville PDF

By Alexis de Tocqueville

ISBN-10: 014144164X

ISBN-13: 9780141441641

A strong new translation of de Tocqueville?s influential examine the origins of contemporary France

during this penetrating examine, Alexis de Tocqueville considers the French Revolution within the context of France?s background. de Tocqueville fearful that even though the progressive spirit was once nonetheless alive and good, liberty was once not its basic target. simply because the first Republic had fallen to Napoleon and the second one had succumbed to his nephew Napoleon III, he feared that every one destiny revolutions may perhaps adventure an identical destiny, ceaselessly imperiling the improvement of democracy in France.

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Example text

At root, however, they had no such belief. Secret documents from that time reveal to us that, in their view, these were clever stratagems with which to conceal their own plans or to falsify them for the public gaze. As for them, they knew full well that the French Revolution was a local and passing event, which they needed only to exploit to their advantage. With that in mind, they hatched up plans, made preparations, contracted secret alliances and quarrelled among themselves at the sight of these imminent spoils, splitting and uniting into different camps.

Finally, I shall try to look into our future. One section of this second work is already sketched out but is, as yet, undeserving of publication. Shall I be granted the time to finish it? Who can say? The destiny of individuals is much more difficult to perceive than that of nations. I hope I have written the present book without bias but I do not claim to have written it without passion. A Frenchman would hardly be allowed not to have feelings when he speaks of his own country and muses about his times.

His researches at Tours (and later in the national archives in Paris) convinced him of what he had long suspected: that in spite of appearances the Revolution had not totally disrupted the continuity of French history; rather, it had in crucial respects taken up the work of the Ancien Regime and completed it. This became a central theme of the new book. Another, closely related, was centralization. This was understood to be the system by which the rulers in Paris, whether revolutionaries, dictators or constitutional monarchs, made all important and most unimportant political and administrative decisions for France.

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